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Wardrums in Myanmar's Wa hills

The chief of Myanmar's armed forces, Senior General Min Aung Hlaing, took to the hills near the Chinese border this month with a message for the United Wa State Army, the country's largest insurgent group, to sign a national ceasefire agreement or face the consequences as the only ethnic faction holding out against peace. Military action could prove counterproductive, but national pride and angst over Chinese influence appear to be leading the charge. - Anthony Davis (Apr 23, '14)

Purge tightens
Xi's grip on reform

First former security czar Zhou Yongkang is put under virtual house arrest; now Central Military Commission generals Xu Caihou and Guo Boxiong stand accused of selling promotions. The anti-corruption campaign is gathering pace, giving President Xi Jinping greater control of two pillars of the China Communist Party establishment and the kind of upper hand for enacting reform that the Cultural Revolution gave Deng Xiaoping. - Francesco Sisci (Apr 23, '14)

Obama runs China's pivot gauntlet

Barack Obama is taking part in a pivot promotion tour of Asia with a certain smugness that the political and economic foundations of a China-containment regime have been laid. But with overt confrontation in East Asia from Beijing signaling its preparedness to manage relations in more hostile ways, the US president has no reason to feel other than the beginning of the end for the American Century is upon him.
- Peter Lee (Apr 22, '14)

Hypocrisy carries a price in Ukraine
Theories abound as to what exactly caused the collapse of the Soviet Union, but they can be trumped by one reason alone: an unbearable cognitive dissonance or, to put it more simply, an all-prevailing sense of total hypocrisy. As the US desperately seeks some kind of victory in the Ukraine, its AngloZionists should be all too aware of the price to pay for prizing vanity above truth. (Apr 23, '14)

US hands Palestine a loaded deck
The pro-Israel past of prominent figures on the US side of the flagging Middle East peace process undermines Washington's honest-broker status while highlighting why the US has come to accept sometimes extreme Israeli demands as mainstream discourse. Far from pursuing the process to reach a meaningful solution, the latest initiative seems designed to give the US a useful regional platform. - Ramzy Baroud (Apr 23, '14)

Too big to jail in
the 'post-legal' US

Kidnapping, torture and perjury committed by members of the US's national security system have gone unpunished in the Obama era, while "outsiders" revealing information that threatens the state have been pursued relentlessly. The case of General James Cartwright, a once "favorite" of the American president who is suspected of leaking information about a covert cyberattack on Iran, could therefore set a new precedent.
- Tom Engelhardt (Apr 22, '14)

India can no longer ignore Gulf labor pain
The attraction of the Gulf countries and Saudi Arabia to Indian migrant workers used to give a diplomatic card to New Delhi. Riyadh's expulsion of 140,000 Indian expats ended that and has made it imperative to begin long-neglected hard work on the legal and institutional framework to ensure Indians in the region get a better deal.
- Zakir Hussain (Apr 23, '14)

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Japan warns Beijing over ship seizure
Japan has warned that the seizure by China of a container ship owned by Mitsui OSK Lines for its failure to respond to a wartime compensation order may damage bilateral economic ties to the extent that it "may rock the foundation of the 1972 joint statement's spirit that normalized Japan-China diplomatic relations". (Apr 22, '14)

Putin warns of US navy threat
President Vladimir Putin last week described North Atlantic Treaty Organization missile batteries aimed at Russia's Black Sea coastline as threatening the nuclear defenses of southwestern Russia, the first time the president or Russian defense officials have put Crimea into Russian strategic survival doctrine. US Navy deployment in the Black Sea of ships armed with Aegis missiles is one of the concrete threats Putin was referring to. - John Helmer (Apr 22, '14)

Hoodwinked by the Strangelove effect
As NATO's post-Cold War eastward expansion rolls relentlessly towards Ukraine, and as US plans to mass troops in the Asia-Pacific evolve, it is as if the dark world of nuclear lunacy glimpsed in the Stanley Kubrick satire Dr Strangelove had been reborn for the 21st century. The maniacs in charge may be different, but the US vision to dominate the Eurasian landmass hasn't changed. (Apr 22, '14)

Boy made first ferry distress call
A fire station passed on to coastguards the first distress call from a sinking South Korean ferry, made by a frightened boy three minutes after the vessel made its fateful last turn. The call was followed by others to the fire brigade from about 20 children, Yonhap news agency reported.
Click here for the latest news.

Myanmar opposition pioneer Win Tin dies
Veteran journalist Win Tin, who co-founded Myanmar's opposition National League for Democracy with Aung San Suu Kyi and became the country's longest-incarcerated political prisoner, has died in Yangon at the age of 85.
(Apr 22, '14)

India's women lose the election

Political parties in India, even those vociferously supporting the reservation of seats for women in parliament, have failed to put up on average even one woman for every 10 male candidates contesting the current election in the lower house. While pressure for change is growing as quotas in local assemblies create a significant mass of grassroots leaders among them, women feel they have lost out nationally.
- Manipadma Jena (Apr 22, '14)

Yue Yuen strike spreads to Jiangxi
A strike by workers at a Yue Yuen shoe factory, one of the biggest in China, in southern Guangdong province has spread to another factory run by the Taiwan-owned company in eastern Jiangxi province. (Apr 22, '14)

Ukraine and the
grand chessboard

In a sane, non-Hobbesian environment, a neutral Ukraine would only gain by positioning itself as a privileged crossroads between the European Union and the proposed Eurasian Union, as well as a key node of the Chinese New Silk Road - not to mention of vital link in a common market from Lisbon to Vladivostok. Instead, the present disaster is a big spanner in the works - a spanner that suits only one player: the US government.
- Pepe Escobar (Apr 17, '14)

Agony of Korean ferry disaster

South Korean relatives of passengers on board a capsized ferry wait for news about their loved ones, at a gym in Jindo on Thursday. Poor conditions hampered the frantic search for nearly 300 people, most of them schoolchildren, missing as nine passengers were confirmed dead and distraught relatives maintained an agonizing vigil on shore. Click here for the latest news. (Apr 17, '14)

Baloch separatists follow Taliban footsteps
Talks between the Pakistani Taliban and the government in Islamabad have increased the prospect of some sort of peaceful settlement, after terror attacks forced the government to the negotiating table. The slaying of innocents in southwestern Balochistan province shows that as separatists there take their cue from the Taliban, Islamabad would be wise to support Baloch nationalists who favor the ballot box rather than to up the ante with military action.
- Syed Fazl-e-Haider (Apr 17, '14)

It's our UN party
A grandstanding Tea Party Republican last week sponsored a senate bill demanding that Iran rescind Hamid Aboutalebi as its choice for its envoy to the United Nations. Yet, Iran has a sovereign right to choose whomever it wants to represent it at the UN, just as Texans have the right to choose whatever Ivy League meathead they want to represent them in congress.
- John Feffer (Apr 17, '14)

Conflict fuels child labor in India
Parents in India's Chhattisgarh state who fear their children may be forced to fight for Maoist insurgents are inadvertently passing them to child traffickers in an attempt to "save" them, with many ending up as unpaid laborers or in the sex industry. Because the government doesn't want to admit the problem exists, the traffickers rarely face justice. - Stella Paul (Apr 17, '14)

Indonesia and those dashed lines
Speculation that Indonesia has abandoned its mediator status in the South China Sea sovereignty dispute ignores that the country has never laid claim to the hundreds of "features" in the Spratlys and the Paracel islands around which much of the conflict has revolved. There is also the problem that China's "nine-dash map" is incomplete, inaccurate, inconsistent and legally questionable. - Arif Havas Oegroseno (Apr 17, '14)


Market valuation and
the 'two egg' problem

An oversimplified use of the "two egg" formula to explain step-like movements in asset prices would suggest investors push up the markets in ever smaller increments to figure out where breaking points lie. This ignores human and technical factors affecting the market's fragility.
- Chan Akya

Inflation's broken link
The absence of high inflation under the huge expansion of the Federal Reserve's monetary base suggests that either monetary theory must be wrong or the recent extreme monetary policy must be producing pathological behavior in the banking system.
- Martin Hutchinson

A surreal Yellen show
Watching Janet Yellen's televised appearance before the Economic Club of New York just seemed surreal. Amid an out-of-control experiment with monetary inflation, the new Fed chair was welcomed with reverence. The whole exercise was discomforting. (Apr 22, '14)
Doug Noland looks at the previous week's events each Monday.

Obama prefers
minimal Afghan role

The high probability, as things stand, is that there will be a run-off in the Afghan presidential election. The final results of the April 5 election will be known in another three weeks. Current front runner Abdullah Abdullah is apparently reaching out for support from his rival candidate Zalmay Rassoul in the event of a run-off, which could be a winning coalition...
- M K Bhadrakumar

[Re: The promise of deflation, Apr 17, '14] With the Federal Reserve printing money like gangbusters in the last few years, generalized inflation certainly seems the most logical outcome - in the short and longer run.
John Chen
   Go to Letters to the Editor

1. Ukraine and the grand chessboard

2. It's our UN party

3. Breaking bad in southern NATOstan

4. Rockefeller rebooted for Asia's century

5. The promise of deflation

6. Baloch separatists follow Taliban footsteps

7. Sex, politics and the Chinese city

8. 'Sex symbols' a poor proxy in Sri Lanka

9. Indonesia and those dashed lines

10. The finance millstone

(Apr 18-21, 2014)


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